Chaos reigns after Gala swamped

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EILDON Housing Association is set to hold a meeting with tenants of a Galashiels estate which was again flooded during last Thursday’s torrential downpour and which caused chaos throughout the town.

Tenants of Riddle Dumble Park were forced to mop up their properties as water cascaded through the 30-home development, with fire and police services both called.

It is the latest flooding incident, with residents claiming heavy rainfall regularly results in water rushing down from the nearby Victoria Park into the complex.

One frustrated householder, who did not wish to be named, said: “There seems to have been no preventative action to rectify this ongoing problem, although the problem is well documented.

“I would like to know what procedures/plans the local authority have in place for such incidents, compensation to tenants and, more importantly, why there was no flood prevention put in place when the houses were erected?”

EHA chief executive Nile Istephan said: “Eildon Housing Association has been working with our tenants in the Mossilee area of Galashiels following the recent heavy rainfall which has caused some flooding in this area, as in other areas of the Borders.

“We have sought to provide assistance with sandbags and support for tenants where they have been affected. We have discussed this matter with Scottish Borders Council and have also written to tenants to offer a meeting to discuss these issues and consider what measures can be put in place to minimise the risk of further incidents.”

An SBC spokesperson said: “The council is aware of the flooding issues at Riddle Dumble Park and we are continuing to discuss the situation with Eildon Housing, in an attempt to resolve them.”

Galashiels town centre was also badly affected by the heavy rainfall which hit the central Borders last Thursday. In particular, there were problems with Bank Street stemming from the Bakehouse Burn near Galashiels Academy.

Despite the efforts of SBC workmen, the waterway flooded twice, the second time at 4.30pm, placing nearby Livingston Place under three foot of water.

It then poured down into the town centre at around 5pm, closing off St John Street before a foot of water made its way into Bank Street, which police officers also shut for four hours.

A total of 23 firefighters attended, including an incident support unit, and ScottishPower disconnected 30 premises for over two hours as a safety precaution when three businesses were washed out under 12 inches of water.

The Bank Street shops affected were forced to sell off some of their damaged stock at reduced prices the following day.

Albert Place, Wood Street and Gala Water Retail Park were also affected.

Selkirk and Broadmeadows were threatened by flooding, but the efforts of local people and groups prevented such a problem, and flood warnings were issued for the River Tweed near Dawyck, Eddleston Water in Peebles and River Teviot between Hawick and Jedburgh.

With flooding devastating large parts of England and Wales, SBC’s director of environment and infrastructure, Rob Dickson, said communities should be well prepared for such a disaster.

He added: “It is clear that yet again we experienced heavy rain that fell on already-saturated ground, with the consequence that the run-off to rivers was very rapid and the risk of flooding was greatly increased.

“Some communities were able to take the necessary steps to protect their properties and this demonstrates very clearly the importance of being prepared for localised flooding.

“The preparations should include having flood-protection equipment and a clear plan to follow.”

A spokesman for the council added that it operates a discounted flood products scheme which allows businesses, community groups and individuals to purchase items such as floodgates and vent guards at a heavily-reduced price.